Audible adds an unlimited access plan with a surprising monthly price

Amazon's Audible audiobook service has finally introduced an unlimited plan that gives subscribers access to a huge library of content at a single monthly rate. Given the current price of $14.95 per monthly credit, subscribers would naturally assume the unlimited plan must have a shocking monthly subscription cost, and that's true — but not in the way you think.

Audible is an audiobook company that has branched out into original dramatized audio productions in recent years. Though the audio library is massive, the service has largely operated with a type of purchasing system that is increasingly archaic amid the present year's monthly subscription plans.

Users could either purchase an audiobook directly for its retail price or sign up to get a monthly audiobook credit at $14.95/month. That's a good deal for people who regularly listen to these books — a credit could be used to redeem, for example, a $25 audiobook without having to pay the difference in cost.

The newly announced Audible Plus plan is different — it offers unlimited listening to podcasts, Audible Originals, and many audiobooks for $7.95/month. This makes the offering much more appealing over the $14.95/month/credit system, though that's not going away for those who prefer it.

The big difference here — the cost aside — is that the Audible Plus plan offers unlimited streaming, but you're not purchasing the content, meaning you only retain access to the audio offerings for as long as you remain a monthly subscriber. In contrast, purchasing the credits mean you're ultimately purchasing the audiobooks — and so you retain access to that purchased content even if you decide to stop buying credits in the future.

Audible is renaming its credit-based option to Audible Premium Plus; it will retain its $14.95/month price. Premium Plus subscribers will be given their one credit per month, plus they'll get Audible Plus catalog access for streaming other content. Audible members are first getting access to Audible Plus starting this week, with the service opening up to new subscribers starting August 27.